Practice Brief 47 -- Topics: Instruction Culture

How can I promote equitable sensemaking by setting expectations for multiple perspectives?

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Why It Matters To You
  • Teachers should be intentional about how they build classroom practices of collaboration. Small group work can perpetuate inequities if not structured well and monitored systematically.
  • District Staff & PD Providers should share strategies and resources so teachers can develop collaborative talk as a classroom practice over time.
  • School Leaders should be conscious of the critical role of contrasting ideas for science learning and the importance of providing equal voice to students from non-dominant communities.

What Is The Issue?

In a phenomena-focused, 3D approach to science learning, students use science practices to consider each other’s ideas based on available interpretations and evidence. To promote deep and equitable learning, plan purposefully to ensure that the various perspectives that students bring to making sense of phenomena are solicited, clarified, and considered. It is important to support students as they develop a shared understanding of the different perspectives in the group.



Reflection Questions

  • What strategies can help ensure all student ideas/questions/ perspectives are shared, heard, and considered?
  • When might you ask students to see their collaborative work as an opportunity to build areas of agreement and disagreement?
  • How is the scientific norm of interrogating consensus incorporated in your instruction?

Things to Consider

Attending to Equity

Recommended Actions You Can Take


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Work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 Unported License. Others may adapt with attribution. Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Opinions expressed are not those of any funding agency.